Amidst the intense work preparing for the photoshoot for the Women’s Workshirt a few weekends back, at some point I realized that it was a milestone for Reid Miller. Years’ worth of work went into the pattern, the dye process, picking out the seams, getting the exact fit, to be able to photograph it and share it with clients. I have been talking to other women entrepreneurs about milestones and how difficult it has been over the past year to find ways and to make time to recognize them.
And yet we have all have hit milestones in this past year of life lived. Without being able to gather or go anywhere perhaps we just thought about it for a moment and moved on. But milestones are important. They are an opportunity to rest, dust ourselves off, look back on the path we’ve walked and feel a sense of accomplishment. A milestone is a marker to indicate that our daily labors brought us to this place where there is something to celebrate.
My friend Katherine Hanes, founder of the women’s knitwear company, Lake Jane and I, decided that we would make a milestone cake and put a candle on the cake for each milestone we had achieved that went uncelebrated over the past year. And then my friend Nicole Asselin– the fabric store owner of Village Fabrics gave me a small milestone gift to celebrate my photo shoot – a hand dyed textile she made with a beautiful design out of indigo, a box of my favorite crackers that aren’t available in Princeton, and a little handwritten note about milestones.
And so I thought even more about milestones. It can be a challenge to resist just moving onto the next thing – with entrepreneurship like other big life adventures, there is always more to come. We surely can just keep going – except that we may find ourselves very fatigued and lose perspective. And maybe there is also a fear to looking at how high we’ve climbed – getting a sort of vertigo taking a moment to look back and accept where we are, how different it might be. And we look ahead and the path is steeper, perhaps more perilous but still ours. Beautiful. Unknown.
But what happens if we look over the path we have traveled to get to this milestone? The unknown became the known – the future, dark and uncertain, was lit up below our feet. We lived it until it became our past. What can we learn from that? Can we find solace in this undefined path that took shape? That we kept walking and that the ground met our feet. That the urge to create took form in a thing or a service. And what do we get from this sort of reflection on our milestones, from celebrating them? For me it is the wisdom that the unknown will turn into the known. That in your labors you will create something beautiful. That with each day you will work through the challenges to bring your unique labor of love into the world and forge a more beautiful path.
Cheers to your milestones, celebrated and uncelebrated over the past year. I believe in you and the beauty you bring to the world.
Go, fight, win.